Hard disk space has been a scarce and expensive commodity for most of the history of the technology. It’s only in the past 5 or 6 years that hard disks have become cheap enough for anyone to buy up by the terabyte. Unfortunately, conventional mechanical hard disk technology is at an end – it’s being replaced by solid-state drive technology. As is to be expected at the start of any new technology cycle, SSD storage space is expensive. New MacBooks today come with a mere 64 GB on board.
Yet again, you need to think the way you did 10 years ago when storage space in the low double-digits was all you could hope for in a new computer. You need to look at what files and apps you can do without and begin clearing up space. The process isn’t as obvious as it might appear, though.
To begin, do you realize that your Mac has multiple Trash cans on each user account?
Just as with Recycle Bin in Windows, the Trash folder in a Mac holds on to your deleted files. This way, deleting a file by mistake doesn’t result in immediate loss. While it’s a good thing to not lose your files the moment you delete them, they do occupy space in the Trash. It’s important to keep an eye on all your Trash folders, though – Macs have multiple ones.
The main Trash folder for your user account – represented by the trashcan icon on the bottom-right of your dock, is the first one that you should aim for – a Ctrl+click should take care of its contents.
Your Mail, iPhoto and iMovie folders all have their own individual Trash folders, too. Each time you delete an email, photo or movie from within these applications, they go to their own trash cans. Media files, especially, can occupy a great deal of space. You’ll need to go to the Trash icon on each individual app and Ctrl+click on it.
You can clear out some space by uninstalling unwanted applications
Each installed application on your Mac takes up space. It counts when all you have is 64 GB to work with. Uninstalling is simple enough – you launch a Finder window, click on Applications on the sidebar and then drag every unnecessary application into the main Trash icon on the dock. The Applications window helps you zero in on of the most space hogging applications, too. You need to click on the Show items in a list button on the toolbar on top to view application sizes. When you click on the Size column header, you’ll have all your applications sorted by the amount of space they take up.
Get rid of unwanted language files
Every Mac app offers support for a variety of languages. While language support is a good thing, it takes up space. Retaining files for each language that you never use eats up your 64 GB. It’s easy to remove language files, though – you simply need to use the Monolingual app.
Analyze the drive space that you have available
Many software vendors make drive analysis tools for the Mac. When you use one to scan your drive, you get a list of all the files on your drive that take up significant space. You can target whatever seems to be capable of yielding extra space, transfer it to an external hard drive.